Sex, STIs and specific cultural practices
Each country or area has its own specific customs. Some can be a determining factor in your sex life and can also increase the risk of STIs. Read about:
- Medicinal and cultural healing practices
- Vaginal steam baths and herbs
- Dry sex and a tight vagina
Medicinal and cultural healing practices
Are you HIV positive and travel regularly to your home country, for example a country in Sub-Saharan Africa? If so, there is a strong chance that you will come into contact with traditional medicinal and cultural healing practices. For example, some local herbs are assigned special healing powers that are good for your body and spirit. It is up to you whether you take these herbs, but remember that the effectiveness of HIV medication has been proven, so continue to take your HIV medication and talk to your doctor or HIV specialist nurse if you have taken part in cultural healings or are thinking of doing so.
Vaginal steam baths
In Suriname and some African countries, it is very common to take a vaginal steam bath. Some women do this twice a day, in the morning and in the evening.
However, vaginal steam baths are not without risk. Your vagina can become so tight that you run a greater risk of tears and bleeding. This is not only painful, but you are also at greater risk of contracting an STI.
What is it?
A vaginal steam bath is a hot steam bath with boiled leaves, herbs or tree bark that you squat over to clean your vagina. In Suriname, it is very common for Creole, Javanese, Hindustani and Indian mothers to take a steam bath after giving birth. This is a tradition that is often passed down from mother to daughter and is an essential part of the postnatal period. The hot bath is intended to remove blood residues and to contract the uterus so that it returns to its pre-pregnancy position. It prevents unpleasant smells and the young mother gets her figure back.